Memphis Mayor AC Wharton has been doing the rounds in our nation’s capital. He was a part of a roundtable in Washington, DC discussing how to address the concerns of many about the treatment of young black men by police around the country. Check out one particularly interesting quote from the discussion:
“I would say in most American cities, especially those that look like Memphis, Tennnessee the kindling there is every day. The question is who’s going to drop the right kind of match…. You know the kindling is there. Our police director… created a clergy academy. We went to the community two weeks ahead of time… you’re going to see… blue lights in your neighborhoods. Out of the 2-300 ministers in the room, they all said amen. They were then able to be our messengers for the next two weeks… before new patrols started.”
You can see the entire discussion with several city leaders at POLITICO. The mayor’s comments begin at around the 9:51 mark. He’s also featured in another video on the website about how cities are working with innovative programs to make sure they are getting the best out of the federal government.
In addition, Mayor Wharton wrote the first in a series of articles about cities who have been a part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies program to create innovation in cities. The mayor spoke about why innovation is the key to continued progress in Memphis.
“Yet in the face of shrinking budgets and dwindling resources, we cannot rely on the old method of government to accomplish these goals. We must seek out new ways to build a safer, stronger and more vibrant city. Innovation makes this possible.”
Mayor Wharton pointed out improvements as a result of several initiatives:
- Innovation delivery team: The Gun Down program (noting clear statistical reductions in crime)
- Neighborhood Revitalization: “Clean it, activate it, sustain it.”
- MEMFix, MEMShop, and MEMMobile
You can read the op-ed here.